In response to an FT article by Philip Stephens on 5th May 2015, entitled ’Donald Trump would tear up the Pax Americana’
“...Sadly…the media half-conspired in the process by treating him for much of the time as lucrative box office entertainment”
You continue to miss the point Mr. Stephens. The media may have indulged in a good laugh at Donald Trump’s expense in the early days, but have since spent much of their time attacking him, attempting to undermine him, ignoring the underlying message his popularity has been sending…and by proxy, ignoring the growing number of people who respond to that message. The media has fuelled Donald Trump at every stage of this process. That should tell you just how disconnected from reality you are. Clearly it doesn’t.
The explicit and implicit message of Donald Trump’s campaign is this:
Washington is a den of incompetence, self-interest and corruption. A collection of fully paid up members of a professional, political elite, who do not give two hoots about the people they claim to serve. A town that cares about three things:
1. Being elected and re-elected
2. Making as much money as they can whilst there
3. Lining up a nice little earner with one of their ‘contributors’ when they leave
In short, the deal on offer is this:
‘Good morning Mr. Sixpack. I’m running for office. I need your votes and Wall Street money in order to get elected. So I will appear to listen intently, I will make you all sorts of promises, and then when I get to Washington, I will ignore you and serve the money that put me there - can I count on your vote?’
This deal doesn’t wash with people any more:
a) People are sick to the back teeth with the professional political class. The disgust is real, and no amount of neo-liberal, neo-conservative or neo-Keynesian 'bull' will deal with it. That’s a large part of why people are voting in droves for Donald Trump, and a large part of why they have been voting for Bernie Sanders.
b) The idea that Wall Street stooges like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton will make any attempt to change the status quo is more laughable, more worthy of ridicule, than Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders will ever be. Even with lessons from Sarah Palin, the ‘outsiders’ in this race could not be more ridiculous than the idea that Hillary Clinton will ‘go after Wall Street’. Sure she’ll go after Wall Street – Wall Street money.
So Mr. Stephens - if you, or the vast majority of your colleagues in the media had any insight into what’s going on here – you’d be writing about the ‘why’, not the ‘who’. You’d be looking in the mirror and saying ‘what have we done, and not done, that has led people to be so utterly disenchanted with the status quo. You’d be challenging the remoteness, the smugness, the ignorance, and most of all, the corruption of mainstream politicians. You’d be advocating for term limits, and a total cleanup of campaign financing. You’d be advising them that they need to expand their vocabulary to include the phrases: 'I was wrong', 'I'm sorry', and 'I don't know'.
If they asked you why they should to do this, you’d be telling them something like this:
"Because you've spent years making promises you had no intention of keeping in order to get elected. You've made sure your 'pals' on Wall Street and K Street got rewarded in the process. You've screwed up the implementation of most everything you’ve done; you’ve protected your 'pals' when it went belly-up; you’ve transferred the bill to the tax-payers when your sponsors went bust…because finally, when you bounded back onto the stage in 2015 with your latest cock and bull story of how you care about ‘ordinary’ people...a significant and growing number of those ‘ordinary’ people thought to themselves – I don’t trust this person”
There is of course an alternative: - They can carry on whinging, whining, and scratching their heads; looking for something, anything, to blame but themselves. They can blame Trump, his weak opponents, or a gullible electorate. They can bang on about Pax Americana, or whatever you come up with next week. It really doesn’t matter – they will end up getting their backsides removed from those nice comfy seats they thought belonged to them. They don’t.
There is a comeuppance underway Mr. Stephens; the midterms will be a blood bath. This is about something far bigger than Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. They are a reaction - symptoms of a system that is rotten to the core, a system that is finally past its sell-by-date.